Henning Larsen unveils green, mountain-inspired buildings for Shanghai

September 14, 2018 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects has unveiled designs for the first phase of the “The Springs,” a mixed-use development currently underway in Shanghai that aims to embrace green living. Inspired by a style of traditional Chinese landscape painting called ‘shan shui,’ the Danish architecture firm crafted the buildings in the image of the dramatic, mountainous landscapes found throughout rural China. Trees and gardens will grow on top and around the stepped towers to create an immersive urban oasis of green. Developed for real estate company Tishman Speyer , The Springs is located on a 66-acre plot in Shanghai’s Yangpu district and will incorporate a mix of residential, commercial and retail. With a proposed 40 percent green ratio and a 33-acre wetland eco-park next door, the planned development embraces green living in both its surroundings and its design. At its core, Henning Larsen designed a series of terraced high-rises layered with greenery and clustered around a green public square to create a sheltered microclimate for improving air quality , reducing noise pollution and promoting natural light. “We wanted to create a protected environment in this city center that contributes to the potential for this development to become a new focus that generates and attracts public life in uptown Shanghai,” said Claude Bøjer Godefroy, design director and partner at Henning Larsen. “We understand sustainability in broad terms. It is important to offer people an environmentally friendly surrounding while at the same time developing a building that stages human interaction.” Related: MAD Architects-designed residences rise like mountains in a UNESCO Heritage site According to Tishman Speyer, The Springs will feature LEED Gold certification for the Core & Shell of the first phase. Public health will be promoted through a pedestrian-friendly design that boasts abundant open space and excellent transportation infrastructure.The Springs development broke ground July 12, 2018 and is slated for completion in 2020. + Henning Larsen Architects Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Can China become a powerhouse in green manufacturing?

September 14, 2018 by  
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Initiatives in Shanghai and Beijing signal a heightened focus on emissions reductions and coordinated waste management across regions.

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Can China become a powerhouse in green manufacturing?

Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest

December 22, 2017 by  
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Flying cars seem to be moving from the realm of science fiction to reality – and Richard’s Architecture + Design (RA+D) helmed by architect Richard Moreta Castillo has already designed a net-zero tower pioneering drone car infrastructure. The Smart Power Long tower, a condominium building planned for Shanghai , features landing pads for flying cars. The futuristic concept is super green, according to RA+D, and will feature a vertical forest in which 50,000 trees and shrubs could scrub the skies. Dubai started testing flying taxis earlier this year, and RA+D also pointed to Nevada officials seeking permission from the Federal Aviation Administration for flying passenger drones as evidence the futuristic vehicles could soon be soaring the skies. RA+D first came up with the drone car tower concept in 2015 with their Moscow Tower, and they said the Shanghai tower’s construction could occur faster than expected – between 2018 and 2020. Related: Futuristic power plant complex generates clean power through wind, solar and geothermal energy The condominium tower draws design inspiration from Chinese dragon art. Docking stations for drone cars wind up the exterior. The building could clean the air naturally, as plants take in carbon dioxide , and could also have 180 carbon dioxide extractors, according to RA+D. The air could then be expelled from the top in numbers corresponding with the hour, illuminated with an LED spotlight to create an appearance similar to fire, to create what RA+D described as the “first smoke and chromatic clock for the reference of the Shanghai community.” Clean technologies are also part of Smart Power Long’s design, such as a recycling water plant utilizing ultraviolet disinfection treatment. A vertical electrical power plant will draw on solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy. The multi-use building could also contain a convention center, water river biology laboratories, and residences. Smart Power Long is designed for Shanghai’s Pudong District with a budget of $600 million. + Richard’s Architecture + Design Images courtesy of Richard Moreta Castillo

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New York delivers huge blow to the fossil fuel industry

December 22, 2017 by  
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New York just sent a big message to the fossil fuel industry . The state is freezing all fossil fuel investments – and they are divesting almost $400 billion in pension funds from the industry, according to Grist . In a statement , Governor Andrew Cuomo said the New York Common Fund has nearly $1 billion invested just in ExxonMobil – but described such investments as increasingly risky “as both New York State and the world back away from the use of fossil fuel as a primary energy source.” Cuomo and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced the divestment decision in separate proposals this week. They could divest billions from fossil fuel companies with the aim of de-carbonizing pension funds. It’s a big move – New York’s Common Fund is the third biggest in America and manages retirement assets for over one million New Yorkers. Related: The World Bank will stop funding oil and gas projects after 2019 Cuomo said in the statement, “New York has made incredible strides in securing a clean energy future for this state with our nation-leading clean energy standard, offshore wind development, and aggressive investment in the clean tech economy, yet the Common Fund remains heavily invested in the energy economy of the past. Moving the Common Fund away from fossil fuel investments will protect the retirement savings of New Yorkers.” This year, the Common Fund had holdings in over 50 oil and gas companies that have been listed among the top 100 most carbon-intensive on Earth, according to Cuomo’s statement. Neither proposal has yet given an end date for 100 percent divestment. Stringer said his office would bring a proposal to New York City pension fund trustees in coming weeks. Cuomo said he’d partner with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to launch an advisory committee to design a de-carbonization road map. Via Grist , Governor Andrew Cuomo , and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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6 urban farms feeding the world

October 26, 2017 by  
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A bustling city is the last place you’d ever expect to find a farm. But urban agriculture is alive and well, providing city dwellers with local, sustainable food.  These days, you can urban farms  inside warehouses, on top of buildings, and even on the tiniest plots of land. If you are looking to grow food in your city, take a look at these six different urban farming projects we’ve rounded up to highlight various creative antidotes to the pressing issue that is global food security . Detroit agrihood feeds 2,000 households for free The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative started a three-acre agrihood in Detroit to bring local, fresh produce to the neighborhood. The agrihood includes a two-acre garden, children’s sensory garden, 200-tree fruit orchard, and a Community Resource Center in the works. Nutritional illiteracy and food insecurity are two obstacles Detroit residents face, and the agrihood provides a community-friendly solution offering free produce to around 2,000 households. Related: Wind-powered vertical Skyfarms are the future of sustainable agriculture Rooftop farms in Gaza grow food where resources are scarce Urban farming initiatives don’t need to be massive to make a difference. The almost two-million population of Palestine’s Gaza Strip doesn’t have much land to farm, so in 2010 the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization introduced the concept of rooftop farming on a large scale by giving 200 homes equipment for aquaponic growing systems. Other Palestinians have built garden beds with recycled plastic and wood, planted with seeds from nearby farmers. Ahmad Saleh, a former professor and community organizer, said rooftop gardens empower people and help create healthier populations. Indianapolis warehouse farm is 100 percent powered by renewable energy Old warehouses are being transformed into farms in some areas of the world, like at Farm 360 in Indianapolis , Indiana. The farm’s hydroponic systems are completely powered by clean energy, and the indoor farm produces fresh, local food year-round. The nearby neighborhood had struggled with poverty and unemployment, and one of Farm 360’s goals was to boost economic growth by providing jobs close enough to where employees live for them to walk or bike to work. Farm on Tel Aviv mall roof produces 10,000 heads of greens every month Israel’s oldest mall, Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv , received a burst of life with the Green in the City rooftop farm. There’s no dirt necessary for the hydroponic systems able to churn out 10,000 heads of greens a month, inside two greenhouses boasting around 8,073 square feet of space. All of the produce is sold, largely to local homes and restaurants through online orders delivered by bicycle. The Green in the City garden was launched by hydroponics company LivinGreen and the sustainability department of Dizengoff Center to raise awareness of the food crisis and offer affordable local produce. World’s largest rooftop farm in Chicago can grow 10 million crops annually Chicago , Illinois is home to the world’s biggest rooftop garden after Brooklyn-based agriculture company Gotham Greens expanded out of New York to start the 75,000-square-foot garden on top of a Method Products manufacturing plant. William McDonough + Partners and Heitman Architects designed the project, which grows 10 million pesticide-free herbs and greens every year, all year round, inside a greenhouse facility powered by renewable energy . Massive Shanghai urban farm to feed nearly 24 million people Shanghai , China is home to over 24 million people, and a 100-hectare urban farm planned for the city could feed nearly all of them. Architecture firm Sasaki is behind the Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District, which is designed to weave vertical farms among towers. Hydroponic and aquaponic methods, floating greenhouses, and algae farms are all part of the design. Images via The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative Facebook , Mohamed Hajjar , Esther Boston , © Lucy Wang , Gotham Greens, and ArchDaily

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6 urban farms feeding the world

MIT students develop method to reinforce concrete using plastic bottles

October 26, 2017 by  
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Americans consume 8.6 billion water bottles — every year. Of those, only 1 of 5 is recycled . Fortunately, a handful of MIT students have developed a solution to this problem, and it involves repurposing waste plastic bottles to reinforce concrete. Because the newly-invented method results in the concrete being more durable than existing concrete, plastic bottles may soon be used to construct everything from stronger building foundations to sidewalks and street barriers. According to the study , which was published in the journal Waste Management, MIT students discovered a method to produce concrete that is up to 20 percent stronger than conventional concrete. First, plastic flakes are exposed to small amounts of harmless gamma radiation . Then, they are pulverized into a fine powder, after which it is added to concrete. The discovery has far-reaching implications, as concrete is the second most widely used material on Earth (the first is water). MIT News reports that approximately 4.5 percent of the world’s human-induced carbon emissions are generated by manufacturing concrete. By replacing small portions of concrete with recycled plastic, the cement industry’s toll on the environment would be reduced. The newly-discovered method would also prevent millions of water and soda bottles from ending up in landfills . Michael Short, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, said, “There is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year. Our technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to pull plastic landfill waste out of the landfill and into buildings, where it could actually help to make them stronger.” Related: MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months MIT students Carolyn Schaefer and Michael Ortega explored the possibility of plastic-reinforced concrete as part of their class’s Nuclear Systems Design Project. In the future, the team intends to experiment with different types of plastic , along with various doses of gamma radiation, to determine their effects on concrete. So far, they’ve determined that substituting 1.5 percent of concrete with irradiated plastic significantly improves the mixture’s strength. While this may not seem like a lot, it is enough to have a significant impact if implemented on a global scale. “Concrete produces about 4.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions,” said Short. “Take out 1.5 percent of that, and you’re already talking about 0.0675 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. That’s a huge amount of greenhouse gases in one fell swoop.”’’ Via MIT News Images via MIT , Pixabay

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MIT students develop method to reinforce concrete using plastic bottles

Tesla opens massive Supercharger station in Shanghai

October 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla aims to have more than 10,000 Superchargers available for electric vehicle charging this year, and the opening of the world’s biggest Supercharger station propelled them closer to that goal. The large station boasts 50 Superchargers, reports Teslarati and Electrek , and is located at the Lilacs International Commercial Center in Shanghai . Tesla Model S owner Jason Man confirmed to both publications the Supercharger station is completed, and he charged his car there. The world’s largest Supercharger station is in Shanghai’s Pudong district, inside an underground parking garage. Teslarati pointed out Tesla’s map of Supercharger stations in China already lists the new station as open, 24 hours every day, and confirms it has 50 Superchargers. There are other Supercharger stations in the area, but most have between four and 10 chargers, according to Teslarati. Related: Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station Electrek said the station would have to be incredibly powerful to charge 50 vehicles at once, and could have a peak power output of more than three megawatts. It’s the company’s 17th station in Shanghai, and they reportedly plan to install 1,000 Superchargers in China by 2017’s end. With the launch of the new station, Tesla now has 1,032 Supercharger stations around the world with more than 7,300 Superchargers, according to Electrek. It appears Tesla is building up their market in China; they’ve reportedly come to an agreement with Shanghai’s municipal government to build a factory in the country. And this 50-Supercharger station seems to have come online relatively rapidly, Electrek pointed out, which doesn’t always happen. Tesla will also equip vehicles headed for China with a dual charging port design for the Model X and Model S to support the Chinese government’s GB charging standard . Man shared pictures of the massive Shanghai Supercharger station; you can check them out here or here . Via Electrek and Teslarati Images via Tesla/Sixth Tone on Twitter

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The isolated Pacific graveyard where spaceships go to die

October 23, 2017 by  
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In one of the most remote corners of the Earth below the Pacific Ocean lies the remains of spaceships. This extremely isolated location, about 2,250 km (about 1,400 miles) from land, goes by several names, including Point Nemo (Latin for “no one) and the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility. Still, it’s hard to beat “Spaceship Graveyard,” for the location has served as the final resting place at which NASA has landed many ships over the years. “It’s a great place you can put things down without hitting anything,” said Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer and atmospheric reentry specialist. In an appropriate twist, residents of the International Space Station actually live closer to Point Nemo, at least when the ISS is traveling 360 km (224 miles) overhead, than any other group of people. Between 1971 and 2016, NASA and other global space organizations have crashed at least 260 spacecraft in the vicinity of Point Nemo, with nearly half of those having arrived after 2015. These crashed crafts include the Soviet-era MIR space station, more than 140 Russian resupply vehicles, several of the European Space Agency’s cargo ships, and a SpaceX rocket, a more recent arrival. Because the land-free area near Point Nemo encompasses more than 17 million square km (about 10.5 million square miles), individual spacecrafts, many of which many have broken apart in returning to the atmosphere , are difficult to track down. Related: New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system In order for a new craft to be added to the graveyard, NASA or other space agencies have to time its atmospheric re-entry to facilitate a precise landing. Smaller satellites generally do not make it to a final resting place, often burning up before they even reach the water . For larger craft and satellites, it is an important safety concern that they reach a proper crash landing site in a controlled manner. Otherwise, the crashing craft could pose a serious danger to the public. For example, Tiangong-1, the first Chinese space station, is now unmoored in space, and will eventually crash to Earth. However, because the Chinese lost control of their station, they cannot predict where it will land sometime in 2018. Hopefully, it will fall somewhere as isolated as Point Nemo. Via Business Insider Images via Google Earth/Business Insider and NASA (1)

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MVRDV wins bid for green-roofed Zhangjiang Future Park in Shanghai

October 18, 2017 by  
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MVRDV just unveiled competition-winning designs for Zhangjiang Future Park, a 100,000-square-meter park and cultural center—the latest in a rapidly growing list of large-scale developments in Shanghai . Designed for the city’s Pudong district, the Future Park expands on the existing Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, a bustling business and industrial district for national and international companies established in 1992. The Future Park will serve the over 100,000 workers that live in the area and add 10,000 square meters of public plazas, a 56,000-square-meter public park, and green-roofed community buildings. Located on an island, the Zhangjiang Future Park will serve as an easily accessible community-gathering place. The urban complex comprises four major buildings at its heart: a library , an art center, a performance center, and a sports center. All the buildings will be topped with accessible green roofs connected by pedestrian bridges. The sloped building volumes are varied in height and blend into the landscaped environment. Related: Drone video reveals progress on Heatherwick’s “tree-covered mountain” in Shanghai “We wanted to respect the natural green landscape for Zhangjiang Future Park and drew from its island location separated by two rivers”, says Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of MVRDV. “The entire complex will provide high quality public space with public and cultural facilities, making it a place for relaxation and excitement for the people who work and live here.” The project is set for completion in early 2019. Via MVRDV

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MVRDV wins bid for green-roofed Zhangjiang Future Park in Shanghai

Energy-conscious library that doubles as a living room breaks ground in Shanghai

October 4, 2017 by  
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Shanghai is adding yet another futuristic building to its modern skyline. The Chinese megacity just broke ground on the Shanghai East Library, a new public library that will serve 4 million visitors a year and be much more than a repository for millions of books. Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects , the massive 115,000-square-meter library will be a state-of-the-art, energy-conscious facility that feels like a shared “living room” with diverse programming. In 2016, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won an international competition to design the Shanghai East Library, and recently released new renderings to commemorate last week’s groundbreaking. The library will be located in Pudong next to Century Park, the city’s largest park, and will be surrounded by landscaped courtyards and gardens. The library comprises a monolithic trapezoidal volume that appears to float above the tree canopy as well as two lower pavilions that house a 1,000-seat performance venue, exhibition and events space, and a dedicated children’s library. “The Shanghai Library client had a vision for the library – the future of the library should be a space for inspiration, learning, exchange and creation. Throughout the design process we have followed the same goals and beliefs in what we felt the library should be, that we wanted to create a building that focused on people and create spaces that are interconnected and inclusive. The aim is to create a building that feels like a second home for the citizens of Shanghai,” said Chris Hardie, Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “Creating a building of this size is an enormous challenge. The complexity of program spaces required in a new modern library such as this goes far beyond being simply a container for physical books. As we always believe a new modern library should be, we envisage this will become a ‘living room’ for Shanghai’s citizens bringing them new learning and cultural experiences binding them closer to their own city and the world.” Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen breaks ground on LEED Gold-seeking incubator in Shanghai The library is continuously clad in clear, insulated, and fritted glass organized in horizontal bands of varying transparency to evoke the image of striated rock. These alternating bands of transparent, semi-transparent, and insulated glass let in natural light while controlling solar gain. A grand central atrium forms the heart of the library and is flanked by three staggered reading rooms that open the building up to outdoor views. The modern library will offer both paper and digital reading and, as expected of Shanghai, will be highly integrated with technology. The building will serve as a resource center, knowledge exchange center, technology experience center, think tank, and international communication platform. The library is expected to open to the public by the end of 2020. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Energy-conscious library that doubles as a living room breaks ground in Shanghai

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